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Archive for March, 2008

Greetings fans of Skippy.

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Hi. My name is Michiel and I have been a friend of Skippy for about twelve or thirteen years. Basically we knew each other when neither of us had a gut or love handles.

Skippy has been wanting to have some other people contribute to his website, doctor and I am honored to be the first person he asked, check or at least be the first to accept. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Skippy for the chance to either wow or bore thousands of people every week. Not everyone gets that chance. How cool is that?

I wanted to make my first post some cool, cough funny story, but somehow I felt that an introduction is in order. So here is a little bit about me.

I have no interesting military stories. I never served and my dad was in the Air Force, which we all know barely counts as being in the military. At least that is what friends in the other branches of the military have told me, and I have to trust them, because I never served.

I am, however, a geek/nerd/dork or whatever you call it. Allow me to present my credentials.

I am thirty nine years old and remember seeing my first Star Trek rerun when I was about four and still in pre-school. I even remember trying to explain it to my friends the following Monday. Oh, and I prefer the term Trekkie over Trekker.

I was totally into Star Wars and saw it three times in the theater when it originally ran. To say that I was into Star Wars at the time was like saying I like to breathe air. And for the record, I will never refer to the original Star Wars movie as “Episode 4,” or “A New Hope.” It’s STAR WARS! (Do you hear me Lucas! Quit jacking with my childhood mythology! It’s STAR WARS and Greedo did NOT shoot first you bastard!)

At about age eleven or twelve I fell in love with the wonderful world of Dungeons and Dragons, and even dabbled in a couple other games. (Gamma World ring any bells?) My girlfriend thinks it is so cute that I still have the books and dice, but most of all, the little lead figures that I hand painted myself.

Around this same time, (this is early 80’s) I was obviously into video games much like everyone else. But I never had an Atari or an Intellivision. No, I had an Apple IIe. And I had lots of games on that. I bring up the Apple IIe to not only show that I was a nerd, but that I am at least second generation nerd, as this was something my parents chose to buy. I just wanted an Atari. But then again these are the same parents that let me stay up late while I was in pre-school to watch Star Trek. (By the way, the Apple IIe still works, and has a working disk drive, monitor and dot matrix printer, as well as a large game library. I might be willing to entertain offers for the whole package, but my inner dork says not to, even though I don’t use it).

From about age twelve to about seventeen, I collected comic books. I was a Marvel kid. All of you fans of DC and other companies can keep your comments to yourselves, I liked what I liked. If anyone is wondering, my favorite character is the Thing.

I was a major metal head when I was a teenager too. I discovered heavy metal and pot and promptly grew my hair to the middle of my back. Seriously, a couple bong hits, some Iron Maiden and a good comic book, and I was a happy boy.

In college, I majored in Art.

I was a major chess geek for a while and was really into four way chess for several years. If you have never tried four way chess, then you really should. That game will make your brain scream.

I was very much into Paganism for several years. We all know that Paganism, in all of it’s forms, is the nerdiest of religions, as it is the path that most resembles a live action D&D game. It was through paganism, that I met Skippy at a big nekkid pagan campout. (Oh, speaking of live action role playing, I have taken part in a Vampire: The Masquerade LARP, but that is a story for another time).

I carry a Discordian Pope card in my wallet. My Discordian name is Art C. Fartci.

I have done tech support for an ISP and a major computer company. Please hold.

At this point in my life my inner dork expresses itself by playing City of Heroes. I have played other games some, but I like COH and COV. It just picks on too many of my nerd weaknesses. It’s a video game, it’s role playing, and it’s super heroes. WOW can bite me, I can fly and teleport in COH and COV. Until I can fly and teleport in other games, this is the MMORPG for me.

I also have worked in haunted houses for about fourteen to fifteen years. I don’t think it is dorky or geeky or nerdy, but I’m sure it is anyway. The way I see it, why go see zombie movies when you can BE the zombie? Plus any job that will pay me to chase people with a machete and threaten their lives without fear of legal repercussions, that’s the job for me.

Finally, I also do stand up comedy, which is probably one of the nerdiest forms of entertainment out there. Seriously, most comics are social rejects of one sort or another.

So there you go, I am one of you. Love me.

P.S. By the way the only thing worse than fanfic, is furries. Commence flaming, now.

Appearance Matters

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

One morning while I was still in the Army we got to do sports day PT. So instead of running or doing push-ups we got to play sports. Usually sports consisted of either football, or some other game that always started as a recognizable athletic competition, and would devolve into some sort of rugby/Ultimate Fighting hybrid. One thing was for sure, we felt pretty strongly that all sports were improved with the addition of tackling. And we tended to take a very liberal definition of what constituted a tackle. Good, if occasionally painful, times. To this day, I think that if Ultimate Frisbee was actually played the way we did it you would have a serious contender for a new Monday night sport.

Well on this particular morning we were playing soccer with our usual rambunctious glee. When suddenly, a few feet away from me, two soldiers collided. I will refer to these two soldiers as Boots and Nosy.

Boots had started out as an infantry NCO and had reclassed into PSYOP. SO he was a fairly big and imposing guy. Nosy was a particularly tiny female solder. And the bridge of her nose went into Boots’ forehead. Hard.

We all heard a loud crack and Boots staggered around comically for a few seconds and then collapsed. A few people laughed and he was told to get up and quit screwing around. And he kept laying there. It slowly dawned on us that he was not goofing off, he was hurt. A tiny female soldier half his size had just head-butted him into unconsciousness. We didn’t think of it this way at the time, but upon further reflection at a later date, this was determined to be freaking hilarious.

The game was halted and some of us began to give Boots first aid, while some other ran for a pay phone to summon an ambulance. I noticed that Nosy was standing over to the side, bleeding profusely from her face, with something poking out of her nose. She had a compound fracture. Nobody else was paying any attention to her and she didn’t even seem to realize that she was hurt.

I looked around for something to try to stop the blood and realized that the only cloth readily available were the PT uniforms we were wearing. I quickly reasoned that if I tried to take off her shirt to use as a pressure bandage, people might take that the wrong way. So I grabbed mine, looked for a spot without too much sweat on it, and tried to stop the bleeding. I didn’t even take it off first, I just kinda pulled it away from my torso. Eventually, someone showed up with an actual first aid kit and I got my shirt back. Once the paramedics showed up they looked over both our injured friends and determined that they would both be okay, but would probably need some stitches. The rest of PT was canceled and we were dismissed.

I was walking back into my barracks, and I was in a really good mood. You know that rush you sometimes get when you think something really bad has just happened, but it turned out okay? That’s how I felt. Just as I arrived on my floor, my roommate who was in another company, was leaving our room. Here’s how he described to me what he saw:

“I open the door, and here you are, coming down the hallway. You have a big, happy expression on your face, you’ve got a cigarette dangling out of your mouth, and you are whistling cheerfully. And your shirt and arms were covered with blood. I thought to myself ‘Oh crap. Schwarz has snapped and killed everyone at PT.’ ”

Which is probably why he ran back into the room and locked the door.

Accepting Submissions

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I have thought about it long and hard and decided that I am going to allow other people to write for my site. This doesn’t mean that I will be writing any less. This just means that in addition to my weekly update there will be other new material as well. I have a few writers lined up who will be making their debut shortly, but I am still looking for people with funny military stories. If you have any, and think you might like to write a post or two here, please send me an email.

Attention Cadets: Be this guy, in three easy steps.

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

A few weeks ago I posted a few stories that showed some examples of bad Army leadership. One of the readers, Fry, suggested that I post some examples of good leadership.

At one point during my military career we had several days of maintenance-type activities that had to be done in the vicinity of the motor pool. During the summer in North Carolina. Basically we got to spend several days in a row doing heavy work in a giant parking lot. It was hot and unpleasant. So another Specialist and I came up with a great idea. We’d stop at the PX on the way to the motorpool and buy a cooler and fill it with ice and drinks. We’d just ask people to pay what our costs were so that we didn’t go broke providing drinks for our company. We made the purchases and brought them to the motorpool, cheerful and anticipating praise from our chain of command for our thoughtfulness. Since this story is on my site, you can probably guess that this is not how things turned out.

Several NCOs approached me and my friend over this. Did they thank us for thinking of our comrades? No.

Did they comment on how we went out of our way and spent our own resources to take care our buddies? Nope.

They screamed at us. For about ten minutes. It seems that me and my friend, by bringing cold drinks for everybody, had succeeded in making our NCOs look bad. Because we had done more to take care of the soldiers in our company than they had. And they felt that we had done it deliberately.

About half an hour after this happened one of the NCOs came back. She wasn’t mad any more and, in fact, she looked ashamed.

She told us that if we made our NCOs look bad by helping out our buddies then that was a poor reflection on them, not us. She apologized for taking part in the NCO lynch mob and asked us how much we had paid for everything. She then handed me that amount of cash and just gave the drinks away to her soldiers.

Step 1: Be this person. If you screw up and one of your soldiers pays for it, have the decency to admit it, and if necessary, go back and make amends.

Another time I was asked to go to 4th PSYOP Group headquarters. Apparently there was some kind of meeting going on to determine what the new product development workstation was going to have. This was a laptop that would be used by an illustrator to create propaganda. And since I was an illustrator, someone thought my input might be helpful. When I get to the meeting I discover that I am the only enlisted person in the building. So there I am, in a room full of officers, who are very opinionated, and more or less totally ignorant about what the soldiers who were going to use the equipment actually did. So being in possession of more survival instinct than most of my readers would ever give me credit for, I sat very still and tried not to attract any notice. Eventually I failed.

“What are you doing here, Specialist?”, asked a Major with the almost exact tone of voice that you or I would say, “Ewww…I got some of that on my shoe.”

“My team SGT told me to come here, sir.”

“What unit are you from, and why did they send an E-4?”

“Because I’m an illustrator sir.”

And with that, a Colonel sitting on the opposite end of the room took notice. “You’re a 25 mike? Why didn’t you say so earlier?” And he then proceeded to direct all suggestions for the equipment through me because I was “The only one here whose ever gonna actually use this stuff”.

Step 2: Be this person. Sometimes your soldiers will have specialized or specific knowledge that you lack. It’s not beneath you to listen to them when that’s the case. It’s generally a good idea to be on the lookout for lower ranks that know things; they can help you make informed decisions.

And lastly, there is this story that I call “The Best Sergent Major Story Ever.” I did not serve under this particular NCO but I had this story relayed to me by a soldier who did. Doctors says at https://www.caladrius.com/order-cialis-cheap-20/ Cialis is the best remedy for the treatment of impotence. The chain-of-command had recently held several inspections on the barracks. And many soldiers had been dinged for various infractions. Dust on top of the blinds, shoes not neatly lined up under the bunk, clutter on the furniture. The sort of thing that soldiers get gigged on during an inspection. When it was done, many of the lower enlisted who lived in the barracks were getting reamed out for not having their living areas up to Army standards. During a formation afterwards the SGM gave a speech stressing the importance of always keeping your living area up to inspection standards. He then asked for a show of hands of those who had a cell phone. Confused, the soldiers that did, mostly officers, raised their hands.

“Please bring you cellular phones up here, and leave them with me for the remainder of this formation. Now, everyone who lives on post, you are dismissed, have a great weekend. Everyone who lives off post, please stay here. I will be carpooling out to your homes with you to inspect them. I’m sure that all of you are keeping your homes to the sames standards that you hold you soldiers to. And if any of you call home to have your wife, girlfriend, or pets start cleaning up I will have your ass. I can fit five at a time in my car; who wants to go first?”

Step 3: Sometimes it’s just awesome to fuck with people.


Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I’ve just got a few quick things today.

First of all, the following link:

Geek Hierarchy

I am amused because the author put Fanfic in the same spot that I did. Now for the record, before I get piles of angry email, or links to examples of “good” fanfic. I’m not saying fanfic makes you a bad person. (Although it may be an indicator.) Just that I am a tremendous turbonerd, and even I think fanfic is a tad overboard on the geekiness. I do understand there is such a thing as good fanfiction. But unfortunately a lousy 98.5% of the fanfic writing community make the rest of them look bad.

Next up, now that I have angered and annoyed many of my readers, I would like to point out that my internet store is now open. Remember that I am donating a portion of the sales to FUN For Our Troops.

So if you don’t buy a t-shirt, that’s like taking fun away from our soldiers. If this works out I will start making other t-shirts available.

And as long as I’m on the subject of things to do with the site, I’ve had another idea. Since I only update once a week, I am considering letting other people write pieces to post here. Not just anyone randomly, mind you. I mean someone submits something and if I think it’s funny, I post it up here for everyone. Does that seem like a good idea, or a stupid one? I mean on the one hand, it would probably make my site more entertaining to have more comedic pieces on here. But on the other hand it means that some person who is not me becomes the center of attention, and let’s face it, that would be a tragedy.

Attention Cadets: Don’t be this guy, in three easy steps.

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

My first MOS in the Army was 25M, or Multi-Media Illustrator. For those readers who are not Army, that was my Military Occupational Specialty. M-O-S is how soldiers say J-O-B. Now for some strange reason, the Army felt that the only possible use for Illustrators was in Airborne units. So all 25Ms had to go to jump school after their MOS training. So just imagine my surprise to find out that I was the only one who was going to jump out of planes. It would appear that my recruiter had lied to me.

Step one: Don’t be this guy.
Don’t lie to your soldiers to get things that you want from them. Your soldiers remember what you do, and they can talk to each other. You don’t want your troops to feel like you’d sell them out.

Nonetheless, I went off to jump school. I did promise to do so when I enlisted, and the extra money looked nice, so I kept up my end. The especially fun part was that I went during the summer. Which is when the cadets also attend jump school. This is significantly less fun than it sounds. Some of these cadets were from military academies, like West Point. They were generally pretty squared away and at least knew how to act like they were in the military. But many were ROTC cadets. Which meant that they were college students wearing a uniform. I have nothing against college students per se. But if your well-being depends on them not acting like college students, well, you might start to have some issues. The problems ranged from the comical, “Hey look…one third of the formation went the wrong way”, to the significantly less comical “Everyone is restricted to the barracks because one third of the formation went the wrong way”.

Here is one incident that stuck in my mind. At one point a bunch of us were on an assignment stacking reserve parachutes onto a storage rack. We were passing them in bucket-brigade style. One of the cadets near me said “One of these just came open, get a SGT Airborne quick”. So another private and myself ran off to grab an authority figure to report the problem to. All three of us returned to discover that all of the reserves chutes are fine. The SGT Airborne was angry. “Why did you waste my time Private?”

“That cadet told me one of the reserves came open.”
“SGT Airborne I have no idea what that Private is talking about.”

Step two: Don’t be this guy either.
My buddy and me wound up doing roughly a bazillion push ups over this. To this day I have no idea whether this was an accident or just a dumb punk kid’s idea of a funny joke. But in any case, don’t let your soldiers take the fall for your mistake. And if you do, try to have the decency to not look surprised when you discover what they did to your toothbrush.

But the worst offender is a guy who I will refer to as Cadet Snowflake. When I arrived at Ft. Benning, my luggage didn’t. Two other soldiers and one cadet where in the same fix as me. At one point after a formation, those of us that were missing our luggage were taken to see the Sergeant Major. He asked us a few questions about our luggage and which barracks we in so that he could make sure that we got it when the airline delivered it later. He made sure all of us had access to toiletries and that no one was missing any critical items. He summed up the whole thing by assuring us, “Don’t worry boys, Sergeant Major will get you squared away!”

“You’d damn well better!”

Four faces, totally incredulous, slowly turned to look at Mr. Special Snowflake.

“What. Did. You. Say. Cadet?”, asked the very senior, and should be noted, incredibly huge and scary NCO.

“I said you’d better get this taken care of. I’m going to hold you personally responsible for this.”

At this point the other soldiers and me tried to very slowly scoot ourselves away from Cadet Snowflake. We knew what was coming was going to be bad and we certainly didn’t want to get any of it on ourselves.

“I think I may have misheard you cadet.”

“I made myself clear. You’d better do what I say. I’m going to be a Lieutenant soon and then I’ll outrank you.”

For those of you who have not been in the military, I will give you this analogy. Imagine walking up to Chuck Norris. Now imagine telling him he’d better treat you nice because someday you’re going to start learning martial arts. And as soon as you train up enough to hold multiple black belts you’re going to kick his ass.

Now, a cadet mouthing off to the Sergeant Major is about a hundred times dumber than that.

Step Three: Definitely do not be this guy.
In fact, try to not even know this guy.

The lower enlisted were released and we got to hear the opening of a Grade-A ass chewing as we hurried away from ground zero. I never found out what happened to Cadet snowflake, but I strongly doubt his military career lasted for much longer. I do know that he didn’t attend jump school with us.